Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, Valeriano, 2005 $40

Sonoma, CA

Last year I wrote about a Sangiovese from Jacuzzi Vineyards, which was a wonderful winery recommendation to visit in Sonoma. The property was beautiful and felt as if it was something out of modern day Tuscany. After trying more recognizable varietals, our tasting person recommended I try the Valeriano. So for those of you who know me, I needed to ask, “…what is it.” Well, it’s a blend of 5 grape varietals: 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 18% Cab. Franc, 9% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. Sounds like something I’d very much like…and it was! So fast-forward a year and I finally taste the bottle I bought.

The aromas were of dark stone fruit such as plums and cherries along with a hint of herbs and spicy black pepper to finish. The first flavors exuded currants and dark red cherries accented with black pepper found on the nose. On the mid-palate a tart sensation toward the outer edges of the tongue along with the jammy fruit flavors of the Merlot were predominant. The Cab Sav. came to the rescue to balance out the fruit and give this wine characteristics of a “Big Red.” Finally, on the finish hints of savory herbs and a slight dryness made me wanting more.

I would pair this wine with a hearty wood grilled steak, pork tenderloin or pasta with marinara. In regards to distribution of this wine, I can’t say its widely available, however I know you can order the latest vintage from their website.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Layer Cake, Primitivo 2007 $17

Puglia, Italy

I first tried this wine in a local Italian restaurant. I was so happy to see it was only double retail pricing vs. so many restaurants at 3 times retail. Therefore, I didn’t waste time to find the wine for my own home enjoyment. World Market had it for $16.99 on sale so I scooped up a few bottles.

Without going into too much detail, Primitivo is the same grape as Zinfandel. So if you like red Zinfandel wines, you’ll like this one. The aromas brought out ripe strawberries and plum with a hint of mocha and spice. With the taste, I found blackberries and plum along with mid palette flavors of dark chocolate. On the finish flavors of pepper, oak and a hint of minerals rounded out this medium body wine. As the wine remained in my glass throughout the tasting, it definitely tamed the tannins to open up and become a smooth drinking selection.

I’m a big fan of red Zins and this really was wonderful pick to write about. I know Layer Cake has a few other varietals however I haven’t had the pleasure to try them. If the others are anything like the Primitivo, then we shouldn’t be disappointed.

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